Today we’d like to introduce you to Ashley Brichter.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was born and raised in New York City and have amazing immigrant-entrepreneurial parents and a multi-generational-matriarchal family. From the age of three, I knew I wanted to work with babies and families and I thought for years this meant I would be a classroom teacher.
In college, I pursued my passion for education and social justice. However, I was met with hiring freezes on the heels of the Great Recession and could not get a teaching job. Through a family friend, I found doula work. I supported expectant and new parents in the days leading up to, during, and in the first few weeks after childbirth. What I thought would be a stop-gap actually opened so many doors.
By the time I got pregnant in 2014, I pivoted from hands-on doula-ing and began working exclusively as a childbirth educator. I knew as much as anyone could about childbirth, however after my birth I developed severe internal bleeding. I questioned everything I had been taught; everything I was teaching. Many students communicated similar sentiments: “Ashley, we loved your class but my birth didn’t go as planned!”
The teacher brain in me knew… when too many students fail a test, you have to reassess your teaching.
I quit working for the hospital system and other boutique agencies and launched Birthsmarter in May of 2019 with in-person birth classes in Brooklyn, New York. We pivoted to virtual classes and support groups, at the start of the pandemic which, luckily catapulted our reach. My husband’s job brought my family to Salt Lake City, and I’m thrilled to be opening an in-person arm of Birthsmarter here.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
They say every overnight success takes 5-10 years. So, I’m feeling somewhat hopeful about my journey and Birthsmarter’s future, however, our journey has been far from smooth. When I set out to build the business I had some idea I’d have to leave NYC. My first major obstacle was trying to establish a business, hire, and train employees quickly enough to have it stay afloat while I moved across the country.
Then a pandemic hit and overnight our business was incapable of operating in person. We pivoted to online classes that went rather well from the start, but the daily operations of a small business became a huge challenge with two small children at home and a husband who primarily has to work on-site.
In the last two years, I’ve faced challenges keeping myself motivated, hiring and training staff, learning new software and marketing strategies, finding a workflow in an unpredictable time, and generally balancing professional ambitions and motherhood.
Great, so let’s talk business. Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Birthsmarter provides practical wisdom and guidance to radically support the next generation of families through unbiased, inclusive, and award-winning pregnancy and parenting classes, support groups, and curated resources. We’re excited to be teaching In-Person classes in Salt Lake as of 2022!
At best, new and expectant parents feel confused, overwhelmed, and powerless while navigating the parenting industrial complex. At worst, the United States has atrocious maternal health outcomes and our current system not only creates unnecessary complications for families but convinces individuals that challenges are the result of personal failures.
Birthsmarter is unique in being deeply rooted in education theory and mindful pedagogy, and we know that education is more than the transfer of knowledge from one person to another. We are here to model critical, creative, and compassionate thinking; to help you develop a framework for interpreting what the “experts” have to say and navigating a system that is built on binary thinking.
We do this through our signature birth preparation classes that combine the best of Lamaze, Hypnobirthing, and Bradley Method into easily digestible classes built for modern (read: busy + smart) expectant parents.
Using our science-backed, historically-conscious, and human-driven approach to the first thousand days, the critical window from conception until a child’s second birthday, Birthsmarter is cultivating a cultural shift. We are creating a first-of-its-kind interactive platform that centers childbirth and parenting as catalysts for individual and systemic change enabling families to cut through the BS and live happier healthier lives.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
I’m pleased to say so much of my success is a credit to my family. My mom is and has always been my biggest cheerleader. She raised my brother and me while starting three of her own businesses and I’ve learned so much from her as a visionary.
My brother is a man of few words but has offered simple pearls of advice when they’re needed most. His increased technological support with Birthsmarter is help in and of itself, but more than anything validates my deepest insecurities since he’d never support anything he didn’t believe in. My two children, husband, dad, cousins, aunts, in-laws, even my grandmother are all able to step in exactly the right way when the moment strikes.
I am lucky enough to have attracted an amazing community of clients and colleagues and as the brilliant bell hooks wrote, “One of the most vital ways we sustain ourselves is by building communities of resistance, places where we know we are not alone.” I am so grateful for every female entrepreneur, every parent, and every thoughtful educator who has walked before me leaving crumbs along the path!
- Childbirth Classes ($95-425) with Pay-What-You-Can Pricing Available
- Parent Support Groups ($0-$250) with Pay-What-You-Can Pricing Available
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: Birthsmarter.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/birthsmarter
- Facebook: Facebook.com/birthsmarter
- Twitter: twitter.com/birthsmarter
- Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCdP2c2nLYSmWRd2xlpYmhFQ